Some families can spend hours discussing a violent murder in "Clue" and have the time of their lives. Others can’t go five minutes in "Candy Land" before a mom and three-year-old get into a screaming match. But no matter what the family, some games seem purposely designed to create more family fights than ten Thanksgiving dinners combined.
The grandfather of untold divorces, disinheritances, and occasioal footage on old "Cops" episodes, Monopoly has caused more all-out skirmishes than military alliances in World War I, mostly because it demands family members be in each other’s company for so long it violates U.N. human rights sanctions. Also, there is always that one brother or sister who sees the game less as a fun evening around the kitchen table and more as a means to make everyone else pay for whatever they did wrong, even if it’s just $4 once in a while on Baltic Avenue.
When one of the rules of a game is that you can point-blank call someone a liar or outright question their intelligence by dismissing their word choice, tensions are bound to get high. Add to that the fact many players enter Scrabble doubting their own verbal dexterity and so are already on edge and you have a family gathering that’s a giant powder keg just waiting for someone to light the fuse by arguing that if there are two ways to say "Caribbean" then there should at least be that many ways to spell it.
The fault lies in the game’s very name—"Sorry"—one of the most insincere things you can ever say in play, especially when you do it with a smug tone, sing-songy voice, or precede it with a prolonged "HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!" before banishing someone’s token back to "Start." As the game continues, each time you utter the clearly unapologetic "Sorry!" pushes your opponent closer to the edge, until pawns are flung, cards are torn, the board is flipped over, and everyone remembers that this is why they don’t let grandma stay up past eight.
The Game of Life
Purchasing automobile, life, and fire insurance. Paying taxes. Coping with bank loans. Occasionally getting sued. The Game of Life is already so much like the drudgery and headaches of real life that it’s amazing it didn’t come with a whiskey bottle to pass around just so players can get through it all. But what really causes everything to turn bleak is that you always wind up having so many kids people wonder if you should be spayed. At first you’ll start to hate your little peg family (complete with peg kid lying on its side because you can’t afford a big enough car). Then you will transfer that anger to your real family. And before you know it everyone is crying, screaming, and wishing they had taken the "College" path if only because you can’t raise 32 peg children on a salesperson’s salary.
Uno seems so innocent what with its simple rules and bright colors and a name that even people with no foreign language skills can pronounce. But then someone slaps down the "Skip" card. Then the "Reverse" card. Then the "Draw Two" card. By the time the spit-in-the-face maneuver known as the "Wild Draw Four" card is defiantly placed on the table, family members are all accusing each other of secret partnerships, personal vendettas, and using their vicious "mind powers" to make someone forget to say "Uno!" when they have only one card left.
It’s not the hours it takes to play. It’s not that the point of the game is to kill one another. It’s not even that trying to maintain the borders of North America or Asia would drive even the calmest individual to crudely fashion their own bayonet out of foil and cardboard, stand on the board, and scream, "No one DARE better come near Kamchatka!" It’s that every time someone will pull the most passive-aggressive military move possible and hide out in Australia for the entire war, quietly amassing troops as everyone else bravely engages in combat until you just can’t take it anymore and send the tactical bombers from "Axis & Allies" after them, all the while screaming for their head.
Is it me? Am I why everyone is always fighting? Let us know in the comments!